F. Daniel Rzicznek
What started as water changes halfway to ice before it hits the street. I grow more daft with every bathroom I pass. Mold obscures the east-facing windows. In the midday light it’s just dirt. Fifth in line when the bar opens and four holiday drunks pour in. Who am I? How many treatises written on scraps waiting for tardy friends? Tell me about your burgeoning divorce. Inches from glossy mud between aisles of corn stubble. How many gadwalls and wigeon down below in the guts—what traces remain of four thirty in the morning and the rain-flogged coyote who offers my high beams a grimace as he crosses? I am an asshole and immediately regret being an asshole. I filled the glass orb on a string with sugar, wore it around my neck and pretended it was filled with drugs. I plant dead moths in the garden and sing a little Lou Reed to myself. I am not an asshole and immediately regret not being an asshole. As always it turns out my friends are my friends for a reason: we genuinely need each other for unknowable reasons. Sit down and make art. I try to tell it to everyone I know: the world’s orbit does not depend on you. And yet, and yet.
What I have seen of the future returns me here: totality of flowers fixed to the ground with nails of sunlight. The faculty advisor lifts a frost-bristled paw and dispatches a caribou calf. It’s him, but it’s not him. Here you are again: boiling rice for a sick dog. And here is something: scratches on a tile floor, the veterinarian’s hieroglyphs. Surgical theater becomes cockpit becomes musty lodge. The mounted heads looked down and snarled. A tsetse fly in the soul. A pound of soil for an appetizer. Be not content with your smoky eye look. Be not content with the bear dancers of Romania. Be not content. Feathers like black lightning. Blood in the margin. Headcount: the man in a pig mask with a pig face underneath; the woman with hair like a stack of pastries; the beautiful children joined at their navels. Fake tears and a story about family espionage plus questionable deaths, all because of a late paper. Fur on the pine. The hero/villain beneath the polar icecap is most readily defined as recursive. A minimalist vine. An image as propellant. How my mind minds you: flutter by the edge. A form of non-discourse. Two hours east my brother lies down in a muddy field and waits for geese.
F. Daniel Rzicznek's books of poetry are Settlers (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press), Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press) and Neck of the World (Utah State University Press), and he is coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press). His poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, West Branch, Blackbird, Colorado Review, and Notre Dame Review. He currently teaches and directs the creative writing program at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.